Philippine youth read a Taiwan tourism promotion brochure at a travel fair in Manila earlier this month.
Manila, Feb. 15 (CNA) The number of arrivals from the Philippines in Taiwan reached over 172,000 in 2016, an almost 24 percent year-on-year increase, as a result of Taiwan's streamlined visa procedures for Philippine nationals and its tourism promotion efforts.
Taiwan saw a total of 172,475 visitor arrivals from the Philippines in 2016, an increase of 23.89 percent from the previous year, according to statistics compiled by Taiwan's Tourism Bureau.
Among the total, 48,198 came to Taiwan for tourism, up almost 60 percent from the previous year, according to bureau figures.
Last year, 6,551 came to Taiwan on business trips, 4,843 came to visit relatives living in Taiwan, 3,238 came to attend meetings, the bureau said. Others came for academic studies, exhibitions, medical treatment and other purposes, it said.
Commenting on the overall increase, Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines attributed it to the country's measures to streamline visa procedures for citizens from the Southeast Asian country, as well as the Tourism Bureau's efforts to promote Taiwan tourism at travel fairs in the Philippines.
In September 2016, Taiwan eased regulations on the entry of Philippine visitors to Taiwan, allowing Philippine citizens who hold permanent residency, visas and resident permits that are valid or had expired within the past 10 years issued by the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Schengen area or South Korea, to visit Taiwan without a visa.
Travelers need only to apply through an online system for multiple-entry permits valid for three months and allowing them to stay in Taiwan for up to 30 days.
In October that same year, Taiwan also included the Philippines in its e-visa program. Since then, Philippine citizens can apply for e-visas to Taiwan for tourism, business, visiting relatives, attending meetings or sports events and other short-stay purposes.
Under President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) "New Southbound Policy," more academic exchanges between Taiwan and the Philippines are anticipated in the coming year, the representative office said.
The office said it expects a greater number of Philippine visitors to Taiwan in 2017.
In 2016, the number of Taiwanese visitor arrivals in the Philippines reached 231,801, up nearly 29 percent from the previous year, according to bureau statistics.
(By Elaine Hou and Emerson Lim)